Date of Award

5-2011

Embargo Period

3-28-2012

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Design (MDes)

Department

Design

Advisor(s)

Mark Baskinger

Abstract

Health behaviors are triggered and reinforced by a system of environmental cues that only dimly impact conscious awareness. When people try to change their eating habits, they often struggle to break out of the self-defeating scripts that keep them entrenched in undesirable behavioral patterns and fail to take into account the environmental cues that undermine their efforts. By redesigning their personal environments, people can facilitate their own behavior change to promote wellness.

This thesis explores the ways in which individuals can redesign their everyday personal environments, from kitchens to desks to cars, to disrupt unhealthy patterns and create positive cues to support their desired behavioral transformation. Research conducted through literature review, surveys, interviews, journals, and generative modeling reveals needs for personalized wellness education, design inspiration, guidance that promotes self-efficacy, and long-term support for prioritizing and managing environmental and behavioral redesign.

A proposed web-based tool called Seeds of Health provides an adaptive framework for personal wellness transformation in an iterative, four-phase process: (1) exploration and assessment, (2) planning and preparation, (3) practice and tracking, and (4) reflection and adjustment. The tool is intended to serve as a personal wellness guide, planning tool, and evolving record of an individual’s behavioral and environment changes.

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